Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Writing Prompt: For Your Journal

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. 


I’m feeling lighter. The paper piles in my study are now less like Sydney skyscrapers and more like squat bar graphs.

For two days the walls of my study contain my sighs and sobs. ‘I must toss things out,’ I say. ‘Divest myself of years of material clutter. For new year’s sake.’

Having said that, I must admit I’m still rather clingy. Though the yellow-lidded recycle bin bulges like Fats Waller’s cheeks around a bugle, special pieces of memorabilia remain; as conspicuous dust in labelled boxes. Others settle into plastic sleeves like feathers in a grandmother’s bed. Or as specimens on a shelf; their arrangement resembling clumps of seaweed; holdfasts wrenched by the currents from the security of an ocean bed.

Seems I’m not as clever at ripping and tossing as the sea. Sure, things remain fixed. Like the monogrammed school pocket emblazoned with the school’s name and insignia. The prefect’s badge with the silvered ‘P’ suspended like a bridge over a silvery crescent. The official receipts for the ‘2X 18 carat, white-gold-wedders’ purchased from Kimberley Jewellers as US troops leave Vietnam in ’73. The gilded, achievement certificate; with its arrangement of stamped Chinese characters declaring my movement along the Great Wall of China ten years later. The first pony tail snipped from the five-year old daughter I’d once been. The first curl snipped from a first-son: a ‘schizophrenic’ since turning twenty-two.

Postcards sent from Madrid and Paris. Four Mother’s Day cards etched with loving words by a now-prodigal second son-and-father-of-two.

I hear a knock at the door and hope it will be him. I leap over the wastepaper basket and open the door to an unknown face.

A hug goes begging.

As my stature—and clutter—shrinks in size, may the light shine on touchable remembrances lest words further fade.


In your journal today, write about something you've  treasured ... for a lifetime. Why does this mean so much to you? Would it be difficult to throw away? Why do we strive for so long to hold on to the things of the past? Even to relationships? What happens when the thread of connection is broken? How does it feel to let go?


Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd love to read your ideas! 

Meg Heggen was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1950.  Previously a teacher, on completing a late-in-life Arts Degree in Writing and Narrative Studies, she now writes & self-publishes personal memoir & travel books. Besides other deeply personal titles, she’s written ‘What Next? The Suffering Hopes of a Thursday’s Child'( a refugee tale) and ‘Smacked Out & Loving You All the Time.’ She lives in an idyllic setting in Lismore (far northern NSW) with an adult son who has schizophrenia. Though his is a difficult journey, he brings much joy and meaning to her life together with a wealth of material to explore.

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There is much sense in "writing it down". Meg's introductory paragraph ties in completely with her conclusion. And she expands her entry with all that fits in between, as she paws over her precious memorabilia. She sets the scene clearly, and the reader can identify her emotional journey which is being aroused as she is reminded of events and achievements in years gone by ~eventually to erupt in heartache at her separation from one of her sons. By her very writing, Meg convinces herself of the value in hanging on to her precious reminders; and expresses it beautifully in her literary closing line.
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